The rooted tree grows up, roots spreading under the ground, branches spreading above. The rooted tree knows, which way is up and which is down . . . have you ever seen roots growing from the trunk, branches burying themselves into the dark earth?

Well, I have. The branches do that when they want to root themselves, run and grow new trunks from them::you see, branches can turn into roots. I’ve seen roots growing above ground too, searching for air and moisture where the earth is parched and dry . . . the rooted tree knows, which way is up and which is down, and sometimes what seems to be upside down is downside up and that’s how it’s aligned to be.

To be. I would not be here were it not for my great-grandfather standing on a bridge over water one evening. Were it not for my great-great-grandfather leaping to conclusions, fancies flying loose and free, propelling him to talk with the man on the bridge and ‘save’ him from whatever he had been perceived to need saving from . . . a chaikhaana and a daughter as bride offered and accepted, from that bridge and its being bridged, unwinds my being.

To be. Unwinding.  Khaalejaan, sixteen, ripe, luscious, flirtatious, dangling over the balcony and sending come hither vibes to men below. The rooted tree knows how to send forth seeds, nuts, knock knock knocking. Were it not for Khaalejaan and her bold demeanor, she wouldn’t have been married away to a tall, dark, ugly fellow (not that this stopped her carrying on in the least, making merry, meeting merriness with merriment, cheer, and audacious I am here’s!), yes she wouldn’t have been wed away to be tamed (as if), and then Mummyjaan would not have been the bride Aghajaan would have wound up with . . . so this is all a linear addition subtraction of what wouldn’t have been ‘unless’, of course one wonders whether other events non-linear would then have filled in the blanks so that the conspiracy of the universe to bring about all that came about, despite changed circumstances, would have still come to pass though in other ways? Come, see this: Khaalejaan provided Aghajaan with a bride . . . to be.

To be. Providence sent Mum the way of tuberoses in Iran.  Sixteen, Suckled by her Khaalejaan as a baby.  Sixteen.  Seduced by the perfume of tuberoses.  Had it not been for tuberoses and Mum’s (inherited?) fanciful imagination, she would not have perceived Baba as some grand travelling companion, concocting a delightful story of the worldly wise man she was to marry. Had she perceived him as he was, rather blandly and matter of factly, she may have said, No, when Aghajaan put the question to her of did she really want to marry him, giving her the option of the nay. So, Mum’s misperceptions, and misunderstanding, misreading of the man led her into a marriage she later ended, but through it::here I am, and here we be.

To Be. Grateful for all that has come and gone, without which I wouldn’t be here writing these words, or would I? Possibly, yet that’s not reason to not ponder what it means . . .and so I come to this place of clarity::the cracks aren’t for filling, they’re for letting light shine through into the wholeness . . .the ancestors, they are to be honored and remembered, yea, and it does not mean, as I feared for so long, that remembrance of them would trap me or doom me to live their stories, get trapped inside them, no, it is just honoring the wholeness of all that brought me here, and all that was given, and in all that I leave behind in the woods of would, freely.

To Be. Simply free. This is not to say, free from, it means freedom in and with the wholeness. The free self isn’t stuck in thought patterns, body patterns, trying to move away from, give up, put down, throw away the old, start anew, get rid of baggage, unload the burdened heart . . . the free self, the light self, is free at every juncture, inside the totality of all the stuff that sticks, it is free as the tree.  It is we, the perceiving mind, the feeling we, that gets stuck in ruts, grooves, patterns, ditches, and in getting stuck, loses sight of the free self . . . . there at every turn, available to connect with, return to . . . though we may become lost, the free self is not ever lost, in freedom there is no loss or gain, finding or seeking, there is simply surrender to the allness with trust.

To Be. I have the blood of mystics flowing through my veins. The bones of encouragement supporting me into flights of fancy and leaps of faith. I trust this, and simultaenously am not bound to it or by it.  It is what it is, the substance of this clay body, the fluid, flesh, bones, spirit, pulse, of this ship of me.

To Be. Me. Is to sail, it doesn’t mean cutting myself loose from these building blocks of body vessel, dropping the anchor:: simply to understand what they are, the gifts they hold and give, the blessings bestowed, they flow and for so long I have feared them, rejected them as though in rejection lives the way to Being Me, as an ‘individual’ . . . but I feel into these bones of before and a deep sense comes over me of belonging, of knowing, of kenning that one Is and simultaneously Isn’t, consumed, consummated, born, continuously becoming separate and part of . . . it fills me with the sweetest feeling of nectar from tuberoses, milkweed, and the fragrance of bees working pollen early in the spring when the air is damply fresh and it is a song perfumed outside in the pearly morning.

To Be. With. Without. I’m beginning to ‘get’ it. I hear the Hum Hum humming, the AUM, inside the humming, inside the thrumming, inside the dreaming where there are prayers chanted, extensions of AUM in recital . . . I’m moving into giving my voice, voice, though it’s rusty, I have one; with a bit of use and lubrication may it flow.

To Be. Rooted. The tree knows. The way to up and down. To water and air. To earth and fire. To light and dark. The tree grows under and above. The tree is the ultimate in elemental beingness embodied in time and space, all intersecting, ageless, ancient. The tree that doesn’t live in darkness as well as light, well that is a tree I have yet to meet! The trees know. How to be separate and part of. The trees, I turn to the trees, one day I will return as a seed in the rich, fertile earth, my body food, crumbling and recomposing from where another seed will be fed, sprout roots, shoot up unfurling, and grow. Rooted.

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